Welcome to Atmospheric Sciences 111: Global Warming - Summer 2012

Instructor: Kelly McCusker
Email: kelly 'at' atmos.washington.edu
Office: ATG 522
Lecture: Monday-Friday 10:50-11:50 a.m. in ATG 610
Office hours: Mon. 12 - 1pm, Tue. 1:30 - 2:30pm. in ATG 522 or ATG 402
Website: http://atmos.washington.edu/~kelly/courses/atms111
Required textbook: The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson, 3rd edition (2011)


8/16/2012:Today's slides are posted.
8/15/2012: Homework 5 solutions are posted, along with today's slides
8/14/2012: Today's slides are posted. Also, yesterday's activity material is posted.
8/13/2012: Final Exam review sheet posted.The final exam will be held in ATG 610 this Friday 8/17 from 10:50-11:50 a.m.
8/7/2012: Slides from yesterday's discussion, HW4 solutions, and Friday's worksheets are posted.
8/2/2012: Slides through today are posted
8/1/2012: HW 5 is posted. Due Tue 8/14
7/30/2012: Slides through today are posted. Also, PHOTOS from the field trip are posted!
7/25/2012: HW 4 and the field trip make-up assignment are posted. Slides through today are posted
7/22/2012: Quiz 2 review worksheet and answer key are posted. Also, hw3 solutions posted.
7/19/2012: Slides are up for the week. Quiz #2 on Wed (7/25) on Ice & Snow through Climate Records
7/13/2012: The syllabus has been updated to reflect more details about the final paper.
7/12/2012: Please read Battisti & Naylor (2009) for Monday's class. Extra credit opportunity tomorrow (7/13). Details in lecture 15 announcements.
7/11/2012: Homework 3 is posted and due next Wed 7/18
7/9/2012: Homework 1&2 solutions posted. Extra credit opportunity this Friday (7/13).
7/6/2012: Slides for the week are posted. The Field trip to Wild Horse Wind Farm is now on Thursday, July 26th.
6/27/2012: Slides for this week are posted. Also new links posted in 'more climate resources' under Assorted. And HW 2 is posted
6/25/2012: Friday's IR thermometer activity is posted in materials. Reminder: HW1 due Wed!
6/20/2012: HW 1 handed out - due Wed. June 27. Lecture 3 slides posted. Thanks to Prof. Frierson for singing today! Also, here is the Science article about the recent sea level rise legislation in North Carolina.
6/19/2012: Lecture 1 slides posted and Lecture 2 (continuation of L1) slides posted
6/18/2012: Schedule with reading assignments is posted for near future. Link to "weather is the dog" youtube video from class so you can actually hear the audio.


Human-induced climate change - popularly known as "global warming" - is one of the great challenges facing society in the 21st century.

If we ignore the problem, and continue on our current course, by the end of this century the climate changes due to increased greenhouse gases will be large enough to have significant consequences on the environment and on civilization. Those changes are essentially irreversible, since once the carbon dioxide reaches those high values in the atmosphere, it is likely to remain high for several more centuries, during which Earth's surface will continue to warm.

To avoid these changes will require either (i) a wholesale change in the sources of energy used by humans, (ii) yet to be developed methods to sequester carbon on an unprecedented scale, or (iii) intentional human modification of the Earth's energy budget to partially cancel the warming that will result from the increased greenhouse gases due to human activity (so-called geoengineering solutions to global warming).

At stake are deeply felt values as well as entrenched economic interests. When these are combined with scientific uncertainty, it is not surprising that global warming has sparked a raging, often passionate debate.

In this course, you will learn:

  • the basic science of global warming
  • the consequences of global warming to date
  • how the climate is projected to change over this century
  • impacts these projected changes will have on ecosystems and people
  • what the scientific consensus is
  • what the major sources of uncertainty are
  • what solutions exist to mitigate or avoid additional global warming

Last modified: Thu Aug 16 18:45:59 PDT 2012